Life After: The Basement
(© Bryan Way)
This contribution is part of a series:-
1. Life After: A Deadly Secret (2-Aug-2006)
2. Life After: The Phoenix (15-Jan-2009)
| ||Two young people cross paths at the start of an outbreak, but one of them may not be what they seem.|
3. Life After: The Cemetery Plot (17-Jul-2012)
| ||The story of a separated couple struggling to find the solution to their strife during an undead outbreak.|
4. Life After: Undeath Syndrome Surveillance and Diagnosis (7-Jun-2013)
| ||One man's obsession with cheaply burying his brother-in-law sees him get more than he bargained for.|
5. Life After: The Basement (7-Jun-2013)
| ||An attempt by the CDC to diagnose and analyze the conditions that cause Zombies.|
| ||Eric & Mia think they've found the source of a Zombie outbreak, but their reality is far worse than they imagined.|
(AUTHOR'S NOTE: The Life After series is intended as a collection of
short stories to coincide with the book of the same name.)
"…read that last part back to
me." Eric whispers, pinching his eyes shut and methodically running his
fingers through his buzzed black hair before replacing his winter cap. Across
from him, Mia flips back a page on her legal pad and lifts it to catch the
remaining embers of light provided by the street lamps.
"…despite city, county, state,
and country-wide panic, both civilian and Black Forest personnel can still be
observed entering and exiting the IBT building."
"That's from Lequire, right? And
he's been on this since…"
"December 2002." Mia
interrupts quietly, kicking her long brown hair back with a sharp jerk of her
neck. "He's been trying to get a solid local story on oversight since
then, but he's had a hard time keeping up."
"We all have. Okay, read me the
Mia takes a long swig from a water
bottle before breathing deep, the air exiting her mouth turning into ice
crystals as she returns her attention to the legal pad. Eric smirks as he takes
in her sharp, angular face and feline eyes before his attention is drawn to a
walking corpse as it stumbles diagonally through the gentle dusting of snow in
the street below.
"In June of 2002, Integrated
Business Technologies opens a branch in Newtown Square, bringing unprecedented
job growth to the area. IBT, one of the world leaders in developing
science-based technologies into revenue-generating products and services, is contracted
by the government in February 2003 for assistance with an unknown project. Over
the course of the next few months IBT's net worth increases, eclipsing 65
billion by August of 2003… and after less than a year of construction, the Mercy
Health Center in Newtown Square opens in December of 2003; the complex is less
than a quarter mile from the IBT America headquarters and, to date, has not
received any patients or retained the services of any healthcare professionals.
By March of 2004, IBT's net worth has increased to 75 billion without any major
announcements of mergers, acquisitions, innovations, or inventions, a bump that
IBT executives attribute to ‘good business practices', but the Wall Street
Journal attributes in part to a slight increase in the federal budget. The
upward trend continues, and despite the fact that MHC remains unstaffed, the
premises are regularly patrolled by security guards. It is believed that the
security services for both IBT and MHC are provided by Black Forest USA, a private
security contractor contemporaneously used by the U.S. State Department.
Between January and June of 2004, persons unknown have been witnessed entering
and exiting the MHC premises under the surveillance of Black Forest
mercenaries, and on at least two occasions, staff have been witnessed
transiting from IBT to MHC with Black Forest escort. In October 2004, the dead
begin returning to life at the Brookwood Cemetery in Newtown Square, a mere
1.25 miles from the MHC site. After October 2004, Black Forest is apparently no
longer active at the MHC site despite the fact that one previously acknowledged
Black Forest vehicle remains parked on the premises. Despite city, county,
state, and country-wide panic, both civilian and Black Forest personnel can
still be observed entering and exiting the IBT building. Conclusion: it is
extremely likely that the government, through IBT and MHC, are responsible for
Eric exhales deeply. When he begins
nodding, Mia has to lean forward to discern his head from the darkness
surrounding him. He sits up and looks over a stone divider just behind him, his
face lit by the diffused tungsten light. His eyes train on the red MERCY HEALTH CENTER sign that dimly pierces
the darkness from across the street.
"Nervous?" Mia asks.
Eric chortles, reaching out to stroke
Mia's forearm and missing as she moves it.
"Anyone willing to break into a
building potentially guarded by government sponsored mercenaries had better be
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